San Francisco

'Norden Living' Brings Contemporary Scandinavian Design To The Mission

Last month, Christopher Sharpe and Terje Arnesen opened Norden Living, a contemporary Scandinavian design boutique at 17th and Dolores Streets. The store stocks a curated collection of new furniture, lighting and accessories.

Formerly Steve's Upholstery, Sharpe said he discovered the space while cycling past last fall and noted that the owner was retiring after 30 years. "There is still another upholstery shop next door," Sharpe noted.

Norden Living sells furniture, accessories and other items.

Sharpe, an architect and realtor, grew up in Denmark; Arnesen came to San Francisco from Norway and is an interior designer and owner of the New Deal showroom on 18th Street, which he opened 24 years ago. Both have lived in San Francisco for decades.

Arnesen said they chose the Mission because it's a thriving retail neighborhood; after a six-month search, they settled on a space just one block from Dolores Park.

Grand opening party. | Photo: Courtesy of Norden Living

"On the opening day, people poured in when they were going to the park because of the beautiful weather," Arnesen said.

Given their backgrounds, Sharpe and Arnesen said they wanted to open a shop with a contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic. "What we are doing here is something we both had a big passion for," said Arnesen.

Norden Living's inventory was created by designers from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Customers may recognize items by Snøhetta, the architecture firm behind the redesigned SFMOMA.

"The younger generation is also much more interested in design now," Arnesen said.

Kitchen items from the Mormor series. "Mormor" means "grandmother" in Danish and Norwegian.

Each year since 2014, Arnesen and Sharpe have traveled to the largest Scandinavian furniture and lighting fair in Stockholm, Sweden to stay current with the latest developments in Scandinavian design.

"I also go to Copenhagen at least twice a year," said Sharpe, who meets with manufacturers to establish relationships.

The bell-shaped aluminium lamp collection is designed by Andreas Lund and Jacob Rudbeck for Normann Copenhagen.

Norden Living showcases many items that its owners say reflect San Francisco's laid-back interior style, as well as smaller pieces like a two-seater sofa or lounge chairs that are ideal for city apartments.

Although the partners are well-versed in Scandinavian design, some of the items they carry are the results of serendipity: "I bought a blanket at the Oslo airport, thought it was great, and then we found out they are made in Northern Norway," said Arnesen, "so we stared carrying them."

Norden Living is open Wednesday to Friday from 11am–6pm and on Sunday from 11am to 5pm. 


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